Though rough around the edges, it’s witty on occasion and chock full of dinosaurs throughout.

DINOSAUR EXPLORERS

INFOGRAPHICS FOR DISCOVERING THE PREHISTORIC WORLD

Red meat for budding dinomaniacs eager to fill gaps in their knowledge of dinosaur anatomy, behavior, and family trees.

The “meat” bit is literal (visually, anyway) in this Italian import, as lists of features characteristic to carnivores are tagged with an image of a steak (those for herbivores get a sprig of tasty fern). The survey, presented in a variety of infographics, begins with a pair of winding timelines carrying bite-sized narrative blocks and flat, stylized dinos. It then goes on to group the dinosaurs—generally though not always to scale—according to types of bodies and defensive armament, relative sizes, eggs, teeth, plumage and colors, and probable nesting and herding habits. Following a tender if disappointingly generalized look at “Dinosaur Romance” and a glance at bird evolution, nods to Mesozoic flying and marine reptiles tuck up loose ends. A helpful index/glossary precedes a teeming prehistoric portrait gallery at the end. Broad as the coverage is, though, awkward design leaves readers to stumble over occasional unlabeled images and vice versa. Moreover, though De Amicis’ graphics are generally well designed, her arty cycads in one scene look weirdly like ghostly giant humans marching among a herd of sauropods, and elsewhere some dinosaurs seem to have foliage sprouting out of their bodies. Human figures added for scale are all silhouettes. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Though rough around the edges, it’s witty on occasion and chock full of dinosaurs throughout. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62795-164-7

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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The poetry and prose form more of an uneasy détente than an integrated whole, but the comical pictures and the wordplay in...

LAST LAUGHS

PREHISTORIC EPITAPHS

“Trilobites the Dust,” and so do the rest of a cast of extinct creatures in this sequel (prequel?) to Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs (2012).

In chronological order from the Paleozoic to the Cenozoic eras, dinosaurs, prehistoric reptiles, and early mammals offer memento mori in pithy verse. “Iguanodon, Alas Long Gone,” for example runs: “Iguano dawned, / Iguano dined, / Iguano done, / Iguano gone.” With similar brevity, “Plesiosaur Sticks His Neck Out” of Loch Ness and has it chopped through by a Pict (a footnote admits the anachronism), and unknown agents leave “Pterrible Pterosaur Pterminated.” In later times, a saber-toothed cat (“Tiger, tiger, hunting bright / near the tar pits, late at night”), a dire wolf, and a woolly mammoth are all depicted trapped in the gooey muck. Each poem comes with an explanatory note, and a prose afterword titled “A Little About Layers” discusses how the fossil record works. Timmins reflects this secondary informational agenda in his illustrations without taking it too seriously—providing a spade-bearded, popeyed paleontologist who resembles a spud in shape and color to usher readers through galleries of fossil remnants or fleshed-out specimens meeting their ends with shocked expressions.

The poetry and prose form more of an uneasy détente than an integrated whole, but the comical pictures and the wordplay in these dino demises provide sufficient lift. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-706-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Overall, an appealing collection for readers who like superlatives.

LAND OF GIANTS

THE BIGGEST BEASTS THAT EVER ROAMED THE EARTH

Outsize animals have thrived in diverse environments since before the age of dinosaurs and can still be found today.

The prolific Gifford here introduces a selection of some of the largest reptiles, amphibians, mammals, fish, birds, and insects ever to live on Earth. The information is presented in topical spreads, with one to several big animals to a page. On the introductory spread, Gifford speculates about possible reasons for such extraordinary sizes. An accompanying illustration shows a brown-skinned scientist studying fossils in the field. Gifford’s selections are organized into three sections, covering animals of the past on land and in water followed by animals of today. Short descriptions of each animal make up most of the text. Each spread includes silhouettes comparing the sizes of the animals on the page to a human adult and child. A center gatefold shows a timeline of life on Earth, and a final spread introduces some smaller animals that are the largest of their kind (the goliath frog, the Komodo dragon). Gray’s illustrations feature colorful dinosaurs and accurately portrayed modern animals, many in appropriate environments. The clear organization and bite-sized chunks of information make this quite accessible to young lovers of animals past and present. No sources are provided, but a paleontologist is credited as consultant.

Overall, an appealing collection for readers who like superlatives. (index) (Nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-78312-850-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Welbeck Children's

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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